Peacocke, A.R. 1924-2006 (Arthur Robert Peacocke)

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Peacocke, A.R. 1924-2006 (Arthur Robert Peacocke)


See index for CA sketch: Born November 29, 1924, in Watford, England; died October 21, 2006. Biochemist, priest, educator, and author. Both a scientist and an Anglican priest, Peacocke helped foster dialogue between those on either side of the science-theology debate by creating the Science and Religion Forum and the Society of Ordained Scientists. A scientist before he became a priest, he studied at Exeter College, Oxford, where he earned his B.A., B.Sc., M.A., D.Phil., and D.Sc. degrees. He was on the University of Birmingham faculty from 1948 to 1959, then taught biochemistry at St. Peter's and Mansfield Colleges, Oxford, until 1973. Meanwhile, he was gaining an interest in theology that led to study at the University of Birmingham, where he completed his Dip.Theol. in 1960 and a B.D.0 in 1971. Ordained a priest that year in the Church of England, he was on the Archbishop's Commission on Christian Doctrine from 1969 to 1976. Peacocke taught science and theology courses at Clare College, Cambridge, from 1973 to 1984, then was director of the Ian Ramsay Centre at Oxford until 1988. He later also taught at Christ Church College, Oxford, retiring in 2004. Peacocke did not believe that science and theology were incompatible. Indeed, he felt that the beauty seen in biological processes were evidence of God's work, and that Jesus Christ represented an evolutionary step toward perfection toward which all humanity should strive. Peacocke believed that scientific understanding of the universe was one legitimate way to seek an understanding of God. He saw, though, that Anglican church leaders were resistant to teaching science, and to increase understanding between the two disciplines he organized a series of meetings between scientists and religious leaders from 1972 until 1976 called the Science and Religion Forum. Later, in 1986, he founded and was the first warden of the Society of Ordained Scientists. Peacocke's writings reflect his message of scientific and spiritual knowledge, and include such books as Science and the Christian Experiment (1971), Intimations of Reality: Critical Realism in Science and Religion (1984), Theology for a Scientific Age: Being and Becoming—Natural, Divine, and Human (1993). In 2001 he was presented with the Templeton Prize for Progress in religion for his contributions.



Peacocke, A.R., From DNA to Dean: Reflections and Explorations of a Priest-Scientist, Morehouse (Harrisburg, PA), 1996.


Times (London, England), November 15, 2006, p. 71.

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Peacocke, A.R. 1924-2006 (Arthur Robert Peacocke)

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